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Spencer Fordin of MLB.com has reported that the Jays have signed Scott Downs to a minor league deal. Expos fans will remember Downs as the guy they got from the Cubs in the Rondell White trade.

Downs will likely be a candidate for the #5 spot in the rotation.
Jays sign Scott Downs | 39 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Braby21 - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 05:42 PM EST (#8333) #
What about using Downs for a possible LOOGY & short reliver in the pen?

ps when this site is updated will I ever have the problem of not puting my name in the name box and having to re-type my post after clicking back?
_Ben - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 05:49 PM EST (#8334) #
http://www.pclbaseball.com/news/?id=2954
Downs' stellar season for Edmonton included a no-hitter. COMN
_Braby21 - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 05:51 PM EST (#8335) #
Maybe JP is trying to put together an All-No-Hitter-In-the-Minors pitching staff.
_Moffatt - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 05:54 PM EST (#8336) #
What about using Downs for a possible LOOGY & short reliver in the pen?

I'm not sure how qualified he'd be for it. He's not an overwhelming strikeout guy and he doesn't really dominate lefties as much as some otther southpaws. Might be worthy a try, though.

He is a groundball pitcher, so with the Jays new infield, he could put up some decent numbers. He's probably a better fit than Josh Towers, who is better suited to less homer friendly parks.
Named For Hank - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 06:14 PM EST (#8337) #
ps when this site is updated will I ever have the problem of not puting my name in the name box and having to re-type my post after clicking back?

I believe the update will involve cookies that allow you to *gasp* stay logged in and not have to type out your name and e-mail hundreds of times per day. ;)
Coach - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 06:14 PM EST (#8338) #
Downs pitched very well at the end of 2004. He could easily have been 4-2 in those last seven starts; the bullpen cost him a 7.1 IP no-decision vs. the Phillies (1 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 K) and he left a 2-2 tie after six on the final weekend.

By far his best start was September 8 in Chicago, a complete game shutout of a team fighting for its playoff life, outduelling Greg Maddux. Five singles, a walk, four strikeouts. A tidy 110-pitch gem, 74 for strikes. That performance earns Scott an opportunity at a rotation spot, and he might be a useful long reliever.

Another decent lefty, cheap. Deeper depth. What's not to like?
_Jim - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 06:15 PM EST (#8339) #
For what it's worth I like this move. No risk, some reward potential. Downs could give you 120 average innings for nothing if things break right.
_Braby21 - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 06:22 PM EST (#8340) #
I believe the update will involve cookies that allow you to *gasp* stay logged in and not have to type out your name and e-mail hundreds of times per day. ;)

That's one reason why I don't type my e-mail address, way too lazy. But ya that will be key, any one know when the update is going to be finished? I can't wait.
Mike Green - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 06:48 PM EST (#8341) #
http://www.pclbaseball.com/news/?id=2954
COMN for a profile of Downs. He was a strikeout pitcher when he was young until he had TJ surgery in 2001. As the profile indicates, he was the 2004 PCL pitcher of the year. A 3.52 ERA in the PCL is a nice number.

Fine acquisition. The more of these pitchers you find, the more likely you'll luck into one who really helps you.
_Mick - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 09:07 PM EST (#8342) #
Scott Downs = Cheaper John Halama Lite.

I'm a Halama fan, so I mean that in a good way.
Coach - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 10:07 PM EST (#8343) #
The Cubs may have known Downs' elbow was deteriorating when they traded him to Montreal. His 2002 was a writeoff after the surgery, then he missed some time in 2003 as well; I don't know why, but it's not hard to guess. He was healthy enough to make 34 starts and pitch 198 innings last year, finishing strong. That's very encouraging.

I agree with Mike Green: if you keep making low-risk moves like this, some of them will pay off. If the breaks really do even out in baseball, it's the Jays' turn for some good luck.
_bird droppings - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 10:25 PM EST (#8344) #
So, in theory Coach...

If Hinske has another stinker of a season and equalibrium does work itself out from the Season of Hell then Scott Downs will be 2005 AL Cy Young winner. ;)

SWEET!
_Wayne H. - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 10:44 PM EST (#8345) #
I like these low cost low risk, potentially catching lightning or even a good high wattage light bulb, in a bottle.

There are always a number of potentially high reward at the sale bin players available. The Jays should be shopping for those possible bargains. While they might not add up to a pennant, they could result in a few more wins, and maybe a trading chip for a solid prospect.

I don't see much downside at all.
Coach - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 10:52 PM EST (#8346) #
Not quite, Mike. But there's been a couple of comparable lefty journeymen (Doug Davis, Bruce Chen) who the Jays auditioned and cut loose, only to see them improve dramatically at their next stop. Gil Patterson got credit for teaching Loaiza the cutter that nearly propelled him to a Cy Young, but these remarkable turnarounds never seemed to happen until they left Toronto.

Sooner or later, my theory goes, the club's timing has to get better and one of these guys will excel as a Jay.
_Matthew E - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 11:13 PM EST (#8347) #
But there's been a couple of comparable lefty journeymen (Doug Davis, Bruce Chen) who the Jays auditioned and cut loose, only to see them improve dramatically at their next stop.

...Scott Eyre...
Craig B - Thursday, December 16 2004 @ 11:24 PM EST (#8348) #
Scott Downs is a

(drum roll please)

classic soft-tossing lefty. There was a time when he could bring a slightly better fastball, but the elbow injury (injuries?) apparently robbed him of that. Instead he's one of my favourite pitcher types, a curveball specialist. Think Barry Zito with about two to three feet less on the fastball (instead of working at 88, Downs works at 83-84 if I remember correctly).

That's why Downs got hurt, no doubt... the curveball is a real bitch on elbows. Anyway, that's his key pitch and he throws it all the time, any time. When it's not breaking, he gets KILLED and when it is, he can be pretty effective in any situation.

Downs's starts this past July tell you exactly the type of pitcher he is. On July 1, the Phillies torched him for seven runs in 2.1 innings. He followed that on the 6th with a brilliant performance against the Braves, going six and a third without an earned run (he took a 1-0 loss on an unearned run) and getting 14 groundouts to one flyout (i.e. curve working). On July 11th, he beat the Pirates 2-1, going seven strong and again allowing no earned runs. Then on July 18th against the Braves again, he was slaughtered with nine runs in two innings.

Four starts, with a horrendous 8.41 ERA, but two of the four starts were games he should get the win. Downs is going to have off days where he gets shelled, but overall he can help a team as the #5 guy.
_27pif - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 06:13 AM EST (#8349) #
From what I've seen of Downs, he is the classic softy tossing lefty and he walks the fine line between 'crafty' and 'crappy'.
_NDG - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 08:08 AM EST (#8350) #
Not quite, Mike. But there's been a couple of comparable lefty journeymen (Doug Davis, Bruce Chen) who the Jays auditioned and cut loose, only to see them improve dramatically at their next stop. Gil Patterson got credit for teaching Loaiza the cutter that nearly propelled him to a Cy Young, but these remarkable turnarounds never seemed to happen until they left Toronto.

Coach, I don't know if you remember but we had a conversation about this mid-season. I still believe that the Jays philosophy of 'trying not to give up home runs' hurts them in the pitching department. Jays pitchers seem to throw every pitch in the same location (down at the knees). I still believe that unless you have superior stuff, allowing ML hitters to zone in is a recipe for disaster. Pitchers that have come into the organization with some cred don't pitch this way (Clemens, Lilly) but most guys that come up the ladder and marginal pitchers brought in from outside all seem to.

BTW, I realize I've oversimplified the problem here, but you all get my point!
Coach - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 08:30 AM EST (#8351) #
When it's not breaking, he gets KILLED and when it is, he can be pretty effective in any situation.

he walks the fine line between 'crafty' and 'crappy'

True and true. In his next start after the Wrigley masterpiece mentioned above, Downs gave up three homers (for a 6-spot) in the third inning vs. the Marlins. The incumbent #5 starter, Josh Towers, has been similarly inconsistent. Maybe the Yankees can afford a $10 million guy in that role, but the Jays have to be more resourceful and hope for the best.

If they add Clement or another veteran starter, the comparison becomes moot. Halladay-Lilly-new guy-Batista-Bush would mean that the spring battle between Towers, Downs, Glynn, Chacin, et al is for a bullpen spot, with the others standing by in Syracuse. I know Doug Davis didn't want to become a reliever, and Towers doesn't, so if Downs is more agreeable and flexible, his chances of making the big club will be greater.
_Daryn - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 08:36 AM EST (#8352) #
His 2002 was a writeoff after the surgery, then he missed some time in 2003 as well; I don't know why, but it's not hard to guess. He was healthy enough to make 34 starts and pitch 198 innings last year, finishing strong.

Consistent with my growing belief that it takes closer to 18 months to come back from surgery, not 12 or even 14 as is widely attempted.
_Daryn - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 08:37 AM EST (#8353) #
*first time I ever screwed up the FRONT half of an Italics Tag*
Coach - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 08:40 AM EST (#8354) #
NDG, the Jays philosophy is to get the best pitchers they can afford and try to make them better. The entire staff at every level is encouraged to work fast and throw strikes -- not always as easy as it sounds. Nibbling only leads to walks, making the inevitable HR that much worse. That's an extremely fine line when you don't have "superior stuff," which is why "marginal" guys rarely become stars.
_NDG - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 09:41 AM EST (#8355) #
Granted Coach, but every team's approach is to get the best pitchers they can afford.

But you yourself have brought up pitchers that have struggled in Toronto but done better elsewhere. Why is this occuring?

It seems to me that the Jays are good at the pitching mechanics end of the deal. Marginal pitchers seem to learn something here, and can go off and have success. Pitchers that pitch their own game also seem to have success here (Clemens, Lilly, Quantrill, Batista for half the year).

What pitchers have had unexpected success here? A-Lo did for a year, but that could very well be due to the circumstances I'm detailing. Who else?
_Marc - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 09:44 AM EST (#8356) #
Another great depth pickup by J.P...

Assuming that Chacin, League and Chulk are likely to start 2005 in Toronto (unless other pitchers are added) and Francisco Rosario probably needs some more work in double-A, J.P. Ricciardi has achieved one of his main goals: Developing depth within the upper levels of the Jaysí system, especially with pitching. There are going to have to be a number of cuts made in spring training to get the roster down to 23, because double-A New Hampshire is also quite full.

Potential starters:
Josue Matos
Chad Gaudin
Cameron Reimers
Mike Nannini
Jason Arnold
Chris Baker
Mike Smith
Scott Downs
Ryan Glynn
Seong Song
Justin Miller

Relievers:
Adam Peterson
Jamie Vermilyea
Steve Andrade
Jordan DeJong
John Ogiltree
Ryan Houston
Lee Gronkiewicz
Spike Lundberg
Matt Whiteside
Kevin Frederick

Starting Lineup:
C - Guillermo Quiroz
1B - JF Griffin
2B - Dominic Rich
3B - John Hattig
SS - Aaron Hill
LF - Gabe Gross
CF - Anton French
RF - Makiel Jova

Bench:
C - Tim Whittaker
IF - Jason Alfaro
IF - Julius Matos
1B/3B - Shawn Fagan
1B/OF - Eric Crozier
OF - Ron Acuna
OF - Anthony Sanders
_NDG - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 09:47 AM EST (#8357) #
BTW, this is one reason I worry about Halladay. To me his pitching style is only effective if he retains his incredible stuff. Any drop-off will result in him being hit substantially more. Of course, he could refine his game (as many pitchers do), but I fear the Jays 'philosophy' may hinder that.

The only current pitcher I can think of who's had long-term success while throwing a high majority of pitches to one place is Tom Glavine. Pedro, Schilling, Mussina, Maddux, Clemens all work the strike zone. (Not sure about RJ, haven't really seen him pitch much).
Mike Green - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 10:05 AM EST (#8358) #
Marc, that's a useful list and reminder. For myself, I'm hoping that Gabe Gross is on the opening day 25-man, and that Justin Singleton is the Chiefs' centerfielder, with French in left. That'd be a fine defence for the pitchers.

We'll see who arrives to camp in February healthy. There are usually 1 or 2 nasty surprises over the winter.
_MatO - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 10:20 AM EST (#8359) #
Halladay throws the majority of his pitches to one place? How does he get any strikeouts?
_Marc - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 10:32 AM EST (#8360) #
Thanks, Mike. I originally had Singleton slated to start the year in Syracuse but then the Jays resigned Sanders and French and added Acuna as a free agent, which pushed Singleton and his lesser numbers and experience back to double-A. I also still think the Jays will add another outfield bat, which will push Gross to Syracuse at least for a month or two... I think he needs a little more time to consistency with the bat.

New Hampshire:

Starters:
Josh Banks
Francisco Rosario
Shaun Marcum
Ismael Ramirez
Vince Perkins
D. McGowan(DL)

Bullpen:
Bubbie Buzachero
Tracy Thorpe
Andy Torres
Adrian Burnside
Chad Pleiness
Jesse Carlson
DJ Hanson(DL?)

Starting:
C - Erik Kratz
1B - Vito Chiaravalloti
2B - Carlo Cota
3B - Rob Cosby
SS - Raul Tablado
OF - Ron Davenport
OF - Miguel Negron
OF - Justin Singleton

Bench:
C - Jose Umbria
IF - Scott Dragicevich
IF - Manuel Mayorson
IF - Danny Solano
OF - Jason Waugh
1B/OF - Michael Snyder
_#2JBrumfield - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 10:47 AM EST (#8361) #
My Scott Downs memory of 2004 was his first start of the season against the Jays on June 26th at the Dome. He didn't last that long as he only went 2.2 IP, surrendering 7 hits and 7 runs (3 earned), walking 1 and striking out nobody. Sure, the Expos booted 3 balls behind him, even one by the normally sure-handed Nick Johnson. Still, I recall being not all that impressed by his stuff with his offerings topping out at 84-85.

As pointed out in this thread, he pitched better down the stretch and hopefully, he'll turn out to be a diamond in the rough. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, but I'm not doing cartwheels over this.
Mike Green - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 10:49 AM EST (#8362) #
All and I can say about NH's projected starting rotation is: "how do you like them apples"? I guess Ryan Roberts and Brian Reed will probably begin the year in Dunedin. This topic merits a separate thread. I'll work on it.
_Marc - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 10:49 AM EST (#8363) #
http://baseballguru.blogspot.com/
I also have the depth charts for Dunedin and Charleston listed online for anyone interested. COMN

I will have the left over players and those likely headed to Auburn and Pulaski up shortly.
_MatO - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 11:05 AM EST (#8364) #
Nice work Marc. I assume you mean Jeremy Harper in Dunedin not Jesse who was lost to Milwaukee.
Mike Green - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 11:30 AM EST (#8365) #
That's interesting, Marc. I have a couple of differences from your list, but nothing too major. It makes for an interesting discussion topic.
_Marc - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 11:50 AM EST (#8366) #
Yeah, Jeremy. Thanks. I had all the players listed by last name only and quickly typed in the first names without thinking. Thanks, MatO.

Mike, obviously I won't be 100 per cent accurate (I'm no Dick Scott, unfortunately). I judged my placements on a descending order of importance: stats, need (ie. if Syracuse is short a third baseman, I would promote a 3B with lesser stats than, say, a first baseman with better stats), experience (Thigpen could probably start at Dunedin but Diaz has proven himself at low-A so why have both at the same level), and age (ie Jordan Timm deserves to start at a full season level due to his age, although Cheng or Martin could probably jump in his place).

I'm curious to know what your difference are...
Mike Green - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 12:25 PM EST (#8367) #
I think Brian Hall will be Dunedin's starting second baseman, with Ryan Roberts at third. I don't think Jayce Tingler will be riding the bench, and I expect Rodney Medina to get a shot somewhere. The lower level catchers are interesting. I haven't looked carefully at the pitching.
_Rob - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 12:44 PM EST (#8368) #
This is bizarre. I was just working on a 2005 minor-league depth chart spreadsheet -- just with the prospects, though, so Josue Matos and Anthony Sanders aren't included at the moment.

The first thing I noticed, of course, was the NH rotation: Rosario-Banks-Perkins-Ramirez-McGowan.

Very nice.
_Marc - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 01:51 PM EST (#8369) #
That's an interesting option, Mike, with Roberts and Hall... Arnold certainly is not a real prospect. I also figure most of the outfielders will get their atbats in with some sort of rotation.

Medina... I don't know. He was demoted last season and didn't exactly shine.
Mike Green - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 02:03 PM EST (#8370) #
Medina's doing pretty well in Venezuela. Who knows? I'm guessing that he gets one more shot.

Rob, I notice that Marcum's not in your NH rotation. Do you figure that he'll be in the Dunedin rotation or in the NH pen? McGowan may not be ready for the start of the season.
_Rob - Friday, December 17 2004 @ 05:05 PM EST (#8371) #
Rob, I notice that Marcum's not in your NH rotation

Yeah, he's listed in the Dunedin rotation, set to move up like Banks did this past year. If McGowan is hurt to start the season, Marcum would be in the Fisher Cats' rotation. Now that I think about it, he (Marcum) would probably be there...

Those aren't in any order, either -- just the order I happened to enter them. If I had to rank them, I'd go Rosario-Banks-McGowan-Marcum-Perkins-Ramirez, but that's just me, and that's also off the top of my head.
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